In Rockland, a Name Change Reflects Expanded Mission

Center for Safety & Change helps survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and provides services to victims of all crimes in the county.


Carolyn Fish explained on Thursday that although the Rockland Family Shelter was well known by its current name, it was time for a change after 34 years. She said many domestic violence victims thought because shelter was part of the agency’s name that they would have to leave their partner if they called the 24-hour hotline.

“We realized the time had come to find a name that would be clearer, that would be broader,” said Fish, now executive director of the Center For Safety & Change.

“The new name reveals our vision for the future and the fact that we do many more things than just provide shelter.” 

Fish provided the explanation at the agency’s Open House, which was held in conjunction with the start of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Fish said the New City-based agency, which assists survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, has been fortunate to have partners in county and state government who support its efforts.

Fish told the gathering that they all working together to end violence in the community against women and girls and to change the normative behavior that allows those actions.

Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef and Legislative Chairwoman Harriet Cornell issued proclamations declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Rockland.

“Rockland Family Shelter has been a leader in focusing on ending the silence, ending the silence about domestic violence and providing the opportunity for victims to have a place to go,” said Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee.

She added, “We need to stand together and assure that the silence ends.” 

Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski said the importance of providing outreach and services cannot be underestimated. 

“It really comes down to a community of owning this issue, of recognizing this issue,” he said.

Fish noted that the criminal justice system in Rockland has been supportive of victims and the agency has partnered with the district attorney’s office on many projects.  District Attorney Tom Zugibe explained his office will be working with the Center for Saefty & Change on new projects over the next six to 12 months.

“It’s not just limited to issues dealing with sexual assault and domestic violence,” said Zugibe.  “The family shelter provides support services and informational services to victims on all crimes working out of my office and many people aren’t aware of that.”

He said the murder in North Rockland last week of a woman by her father-in-law was possibly domestic violence. Eugene Palmer is the prime suspect in the shooting death of Tammy Palmer of Haverstraw. Police continue to search for him. 

Donna Rabinowitz, a member of the Resource Council and a domestic violence survivor, spoke about how she found help from a support group at the Rockland Family Shelter 10 years ago.

“I feel very fortunate to be one of the survivors,” she said. “We (the Resource Council) want to reach out and make the world a better place for other survivors.”

Fish announced an expansion of the Center’s services with its opening of an office five days a week at the Martin Luther King Center in Spring Valley.

She said the Center’s Department of Education has been renamed the Lynn Sheinkin Department for Education and Social Change in memory of the former executive deputy director who passed away in August after a battle with cancer.

Asia Yavorskyy October 12, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Chris, I believe that, the word Rockland was eliminated from the name due to its nature of indicating limitations on the victims that the agency services. The Center for Safety and Change, formerly Rockland Family Shelter, services victim from a much greater area, and works with agencies throughout all the states of America.
Asia Yavorskyy October 12, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Eileen, indeed the Center for Safety and Change IS promoting prevention of the ultimate of all domestic violence, which in my belief is death. Although the Pro LIFE/CHOICE dilemma has and will be a controversial issue within the nation for years to come, The Center for Safety and Change never has and never will promote or demote choices relating to a woman's pregnancy matters. The center is in existence to model empowering theories, which ultimately support victims (male and female) in making safe choices for current and future situations. The current effort of re branding the agency has been aimed to optimize its complete scope of services within the immediate communities.
Asia Yavorskyy October 12, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Mary, although at the current moment the new website does not yet reflect the financial statements, you can see here:... http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=11542 ... that the Center dedicates almost 80 cents of every dollar to its programs and services. I am confident that within the next few weeks, the most current statements will be available for public view indicating specific numbers, answering your questions in a greater detail.
Asia Yavorskyy October 12, 2012 at 04:56 PM
That is truly unfortunate. The work behind Hi Tor Animal Care Center has been ... remarkable. I salute the volunteers and staff that dedicate their time and effort in proving continuous care for so many gorgeous animals. http://www.hitoranimalshelter.org/
Mairebk October 12, 2012 at 05:10 PM
.Mary - you are VERY misinformed - there are very few non-profits "rolling in dollars. If you look at their Federal 990's, that are required to be filed, you can see where the money goes. The average salary of the majority of non profit staff and administrators is below the average for people doing the same work in the "for profit” sector. The VAST majority of non-profit use all of their funds to further their mission. Ye,s there are exceptions but they are truly exceptions. Know what you are talking about before you say something so stupid


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